ask the dust

Jonathan and I were looking into getting a booth at first fridays for Phoestival to sell our cds, paintings and such…but for the last few months there has been no street vending allowed apparently due to some problems with getting street closure on Roosevelt. I got this email below which (sort of) explains the current situation.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: First Fridays Vending
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 15:18:53 -0700
From: *****@rooseveltrow.org>
To: Roosevelt Neighborhood

UPDATE – FF STREET VENDING

There will still be no street vending nor street closure in October for First Friday.

We have been working very closely with the Mayor’s Office, PPD and local private property owners in Roosevelt Row through a new permitting structure that will allow us to organize Arts Market hubs (like a Farmer’s Market, but without the emphasis on fresh produce) on vacant lots in Roosevelt Row so we will have a sustainable, near future long term solution to the need for secured space for community events and activities including performance, arts installations, arts and crafts vending, local food/business/nonprofit tabling for occasions such as First Friday and hopefully many others, as well! We are meeting with potential sponsors to help us meet county dust proofing criteria, which is very costly but promising advances are being made at this time, and then we’ll move forward with the permitting and be up and running.

First of all, why did the city stop closing Roosevelt for First Fridays in the first place? It was great! It’s only one night a month for crying out loud, and who in their right mind would want to drive down that street when all those hordes of people are milling about.
So now the people at Roosevelt Row are trying to find vacant lots that can be used, but they will have to spend a bunch of money to meet “county dustproofing criteria,” an environmental regulation. I can think of almost nothing that would be less environmentally hazardous than people setting up folding tables and selling handmade arts and crafts, but whatever. I guess there could be a lot of dust and dirt kicked up from crowds of people walking around on a vacant lot, seriously though. It seems to me the easiest thing to do would be to go back to closing Roosevelt St. during First Fridays as it is just one street, and this would be better for everyone. Streets are closed off for endless, pointless, waste-of-money road construction projects all the time, and yet they can’t close Roosevelt for one night a month…just for a few blocks, when 10,000-20,000 people are roaming around?

“On the other hand, it’s the only way you’ll discover that I’m the good guy in this story

Suddenly, I can’t think of anything more important.”

Lack of updates over the weekend can only mean that…you guessed it, I’ve been hanging out with a new girl.

Friday night I met up with Bill at First Friday, where we walked around and had a mostly uneventful time of it. After that we went to Casey Moore’s briefly. Bill says he doesn’t like going to Casey Moore’s lately because there’s more girls there that he has to avoid than ones he wants to hook up with. After a short while I left to go meet up with girl in Cartel parking lot. She’s not quite 21 yet, so she can’t get into bars. No big deal though, We hit up 24 hour Walmart, bought a deck of Uno cards and sneaked into a certain vacant condominium to play. Uno with just two people is a pretty boring game…so after about two hands and 15 minutes, we gave up and just decided to spend the next 5 or 6 hours talking and getting to know each other, occasionally taking a break for a roll around on the floor make out session.

We left just as the sun was starting to come up. As she drove me back to the car she put in a mix cd which had the song “Make it with You” by Bread…which we(or maybe just I) decided would be our song.
It was especially striking because other girls I have hung out with have been completely disgusted by my tendency to enjoy 70’s light rock.

Saturday night we hung out again, and maybe got a bottle of Pinot Grigio and went to the pool area of some random complex I used to live in in Tempe. There was an ex-Marine hanging out in the hot tub whom we chatted with for a bit. He told us some war stories and some dirty jokes which weren’t that funny but that i pretended to laugh at. He was a nice enough guy, though.

Afterwards, we went back to my house and fell asleep while watching “Caprice” starring Doris Day.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at Wildflower. The manager lady came up to our table and asked us if were dating. She said we looked really cute together. We didn’t know what to say, but girl mentioned that we should have told her we were brother and sister… which would have been pretty awkward and great.

Then we went to Borders at the Biltmore, and upstairs they have this little room with a podium and chairs that people use for presentations or whatever. We took turns reading from books to each other at the podium, with the other person just sitting in the audience. I read a chapter from Donald Trump’s “Think Like a Champion” which turned out to be not a very entertaining choice. She read from something called “1001 Funniest Things Ever Said” which was a lame book, but suited are purposes very well…so for my second turn I read from that also.

Then we went back to my house, and listened to “The Zombies” cd in my room a few times before heading off to the Adult Swim pool party where we mostly just hung out with Jonathan and ate chicken strips.

It was almost time to say goodbye, but we first ended up back at my house where we quietly watched “Fathom.” It was one of the most romantic movie watching experiences with a girl I’ve ever had. She didn’t text or talk the whole time, and basically we just held hands. I started to miss her before she even left, which is generally a good sign.

No single gum double freshens your mouth like….

Last night was First Friday, which started out promising. When I first got out of my car and was walking to the event, two really pretty girls who had just moved here asked me for directions basically on where to go and what to see. They were dental students and sisters which for some reason reminded me of those “Double Mint” chewing gum commercials from the 80’s because they would have been cute enough to star in them.

They were All American girls from Texas, and since they were studying to be dentists, I mentioned that they must have had good brushing habits…and also felt a little self conscious on whether they would therefore be obsessed with teeth and inspecting mine… making a mental note of any flaws or evidence of neglect.

Anyway, I told them to follow me. We walked together, chatting it up until we got to Roosevelt…but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome so I introduced myself and then was on my way. They said they hoped we’d bump into each other again in the evening which would have been a minor miracle but didn’t end up happening so the best I can hope for is that they have the curiosity to lurk me up online and friend me.

Almost immediately after that as I was walking around looking to distribute promotional materials…I managed to find 5 bucks on the ground. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty damn good about the evening so far….well that was the high point unfortunately. I met up with Jonathan, and we walked around but didn’t really accomplish any of the things we wanted to do. At the main stage, in between bands, there was a dance group that was doing a routine
vaguley reminiscent of the “In Living Color” style numbers that I remember seeing cheerleaders and drill teams perform during endless high school assemblies of the 90’s. We both decided it was time to get out of there…and we were off to spend another wastefully traumatizing evening at Casey Moore’s where nothing too interesting happened.

I was planning on attending that “Wow” party that was going on at Martini Ranch, because many of my friends were involved, and I wanted to support them. However, it was 25 bucks…and the last time I went to Martini Ranch it was nothing but Scottsdale bros and girls gone wild, with a few cougars prowling about. I kind of wish I would have wen though because I could have potentially met some new interesting people. So as it was, what I should have done is just went home immediately after finding those 5 crumpled up dollar bills on the ground, kicked back and daydreamed about time machines.

Gold Man Sakas

So I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of Jonathan Sakas‘(pronounced like “say kuss”) debut album “Albatross.”He had previously released an EP “Death of the Iceman.” Jonathan has been around in the Phoenix music scene for years, and I recall seeing one of his bands play at Plaid in late 2006 era. He has only recently began to break out and make a name for himself.

Being somewhat of a minimalist, I knew immediately that I would like Jonathan Sakas’ “Albatross” when I saw that he used “one word” song titles for each track(Grapes, Oysters, Striker, etc) The songs themselves are not minimalist but rather extremely well polished, proficiently performed, professionally produced quasi-masterpieces.

A variety of synthesizers and other electronic instruments are made use of, with some guitar sounds thrown in here and there. My favorite track on the album is the first song “Striker,” which is peppy and catchy, as in will be sure to catch your attention. The other potential hits are “Porridge,” the third song and also “Marie” which has an excellent keyboard intro that seems to scream “instant pop phenomenon.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so, as “Marie” was selected to be on the new Zia Records Compilation CD slated to come out in the near future. That’s quite a testament to the quality of the jam, given that there are a zillion established Phoenix bands and “Albatross” hasn’t even been released yet.

There tends to be a stigma in Phoenix against acts that appear to take their music seriously. People look at you as if to say “Who does this guy think he is? Why doesn’t he have his shirt off and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in his hand like the rest of us?” It’s part of the ‘white trash chic’ mentality that plagues much of the Southwest. The reality is that Phoenix as a whole probably doesn’t take itself seriously enough. Jonathan Sakas represents just the kind of 21st century artistry this town desperately needs.

If Jonathan keeps at it and doesn’t get distracted by ordinary life prospects or seduced by constraining relationships, I foresee a future of national tours, sold out amphitheaters, New Times music awards, indie label deals and all around success. When Jonathan Sakas starts to hit the big time, remember you heard it here first.

Jonathan Sakas “Albatross” Album Release Party
Friday, Apr 2 8:00p to 11:00p
at Phoenicia Association, Phoenix, AZ